A City Year And Homeless Issues

837 words - 3 pages

Many of us associate the word "homeless" with drug addicts, alcoholics, and criminals while fully understanding that many of the homeless are men and women like the rest of us who lost their homes after being hit by hard times or tragedies. We brand the homeless as being a passive and lazy breed because doing so makes it easier to turn away from the foul stench when we pass by on the streets and say these people deserve their fate. As Martin declared in his essay, even though we recognize that sometimes the homeless are victims of circumstances, we still think of them as parasites of society (__).It is unfortunately that we think of the homeless in that way, when they are a consequent of our actions, policies, intentions, errors, omissions, cruelties, and kindness(__). A large percentage of the homeless are people that have been failed by society, by the rest of us. For example, we send teenagers into war, and when they come back battle-scarred, we fail to provide them with the psychological support they need to get past their traumatic experiences. According to Marin, veterans make up approximately 50 percent of the male homeless population (__). These are men who put their lives, their sanity, and their health at risk for their country. Upon their triumphant return from battle, these men after heralded in the press as "heroes", but years down the road, when they end up on the street pleading for spare change, we immediately jump to the conclusion that they are drug addicts or alcoholics looking to support their addictions.How we stereotype the homeless, however, is not as detrimental as the how we've taken away their means of survival and impede their efforts to escape from life on the street. As Marin pointed out, a few decades ago, the homeless were able to survive on the streets. In the skid-row areas, they could manage to find shelter, food, clothing and jobs. But then as these areas were redeveloped, shelters were torn down and converted or redeveloped. As we started modernizing, the need for transient, homeless laborers was also eliminated. The homeless workers were replaced by machines and by foreign labor. Over the years, virtually all the tools the homeless had to survive had been gradually taken away, and today, they are left vulnerable and dependent on charity. So many critics look at the homeless and blame them for not "doing something" about their lives, but the...

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